Bruna Garcia Fonseca
São Paulo – The 3rd Global Business Forum Latin America is taking place on Tuesday (9) and Wednesday (10) in Panama City. Organized by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Dubai Chamber) in partnership with the Interamerican Development Bank (BID), the GBF is taking place away from Dubai for the first time. The Dubai Chamber, which has had an office in São Paulo since 2017, set up a branch in the Central American country in April 2018. Panama City is regarded as a major distribution hub for the Americas. Plans are also in place for an Argentina office this year.
The GDF’s goal is to explore new avenues for cooperation and growth in trade and investment involving Latin America and the Arab countries in the Gulf. Themed “Next Hubs, New Regions,” the event will center around new opportunities arising from the Panama and Dubai hubs.
Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce Marketing director Janine de Menezes will attend the conference. “I believe this strategic logistics forum will be a chance for enhancing and streamlining trade between the regions, by getting leaders together to explore potentialities,” said Menezes. According to her, the potential for Latin America-Gulf partnerships in multiple sectors is huge.
The head of the Dubai Chamber’s office in Brazil, João Paulo Paixão, said this is the only event connecting Latin America and the Gulf, which boast gigantic potential in trade, investment and tourism despite being far apart. “The idea is to bring together countries that do not know one another so well and to enhance ties between the regions. Panama’s profile is similar to Dubai’s, it’s a cargo and passenger distribution hub. We intend to discuss the role of these hubs, and to redefine the notion of regions that can be close together, even when they are far apart,” he argued.
The director of the Dubai Chamber’s international office in Panama, Saad Ishtiaq, says the forum is a landmark for the organization in Latin America. Its purpose is to enhance the connection between the region and the Middle East, especially the United Arab Emirates. “Dubai and Panama City are like mirrors. They are very much alike, both enjoy strategic geographic placement within their regions, and Panama acts as a gateway to Latin America. The forum will be attended by high-level delegates from both regions, and it will work as a platform for trade,” said Ishtiaq.
The forum will feature 16 stands of trade and investment promotion agencies from Latin America, including Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (APEX-Brasil). From the Gulf, a delegation of authorities and entrepreneurships from countries such as the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait will be there. The group from the UAE will feature 70 people, including the UAE Ministry of Economy undersecretary Mohammed Ahmed Bin Abdul Aziz Alshehhi, Dubai Chamber director board president Majid Saif Al Ghurair and executive-president Hamad Buamin, who is also the World Chambers Federation president.
The event intends to gather around 600 people from 40 countries. “It is a forum reserved for invitees and registrations are analyzed by IADB; people from countries outside these regions, such as United States, Canada, some from Europe and Asia, are also participating – they represent companies that somehow work in one of these regions,” reported Paixão.
The Global Business Forum Latin America will feature panel discussions about the latest trends, round tables connecting investment projects to potential investors, networking opportunities, and business facilitation.
One of the forum tables will be about Brazil with the theme “New leaders, new opportunities,” which will feature Cristina Junqueira, Nubank co-founder and VP; Alexandre Baulé, founder and CEO of BPAR, a management and technology consultant company; Wilson Poit, Endeavor board member and founder of Poit Energia, a temporary energy infrastructure renter. The moderator will be CNN senior Latin America affairs editor Rafael Romo. The complete programme is available at the event’s website.
The last edition of the event in Dubai last year featured the presence of the Panama president Juan Carlos Varela. According to Paixão, the participation of the Panamanian highest authority was key for the event to take place in Panama City this year. Varela will open the forum this year.
Global Business Forum Latin America
The Westin Playa Bonita, Panama City
Translated by Guilherme Miranda & Gabriel Pomerancblum